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It’s Never Too Late to Transform
By Julia Holmes

One Woman’s Quest to Build a Healthful Resort and a Healthy Body

Lin Ping

Owner of Roots Healing Resort

Owner of Firefox Sichuan restaurant

Founder of Running God Running Club


The first time I met Lin Ping was in April 2012 in her newly-opened Sichuan restaurant Firefox, which is a favourite for many spicy food fanatics, including me. I have to admit, other than the awesomeness of her restaurant’s food, I wasn’t left with a really strong impression of Lin Ping herself. She was not very tall. She had a moderately plump figure. She was a normal, run-of-the-mill restauranteur who was in her mid-forties. I remember our conversation then was about a membership card for Firefox and her health club that was under construction at the time. “Yeah, yeah. A health club,” I said to myself, “Just another rich person’s project to kill some time and some money. Boring, boring.” I soon forgot about it. That was until I heard about Roots Healing Resort a couple of years later. Turns out, it had quite the reputation. Rumor had it that Lin Ping’s resort had five-star amenities, seven-star service, and food equal to that which was found in the detox places in Thailand. OK, as a gym addict myself and one of the pioneers of fasting and detoxing in town, I was one shocked to hear that there was place like that in Hangzhou, and two in disbelief that someone as common as Lin Ping could open such a place. Where on earth had she gotten the idea? She loved to eat, and she never exercised! It was impossible! I just had to find out why.

A month later, I went to see her at Roots, full of doubts, but I was completely blown away by the place. “Wow, she’s done an amazing job!” just kept running on loop in my brain as she walked me through the resort. Lin Ping had rented 27,000 square metres of land in Nine Creeks and converted fifteen farm houses into separate village-style villas. She wanted to build a place where people could detox, do colon hydrotherapy, meditate and relax. In her words, “It’s a 4S shop for our bodies.” This was a huge project and took more than a year to finish. She built a garden to grow their own vegetables: all kinds of mushrooms, fungus, wood-ear, chia seed, quinoa, jicama, maca, black potatoes, malantou… She brought a peacock from Jiangsu, a pony from Guangxi, an alpaca from Australia (whom she named Roots), grey geese and rabbits: all were free to roam the grounds – guests lived in harmony with them during their stay.

For me, the million dollar question had to be what made her make all these big changes in her life. I’ve known so many people who have vowed to work out and lose weight, to change their life completely, but few of them could actually put their words into action. So I put my question to Lin Ping. She began by saying, “Meat and spicy Sichuan food used to be my favourites, but that food contains lots of oil and fat. My dinner table was always full of meat and seafood dishes and only one or two vegetable dishes. Now it’s reversed.” She went on to explain that she began to realize the importance of being healthy because as her age went up so did her weight since her metabolism started to slow. It was around that time that the thought of opening a health resort came to her. “Since I had been in hotel and real estate business before,” she said, “I wanted to open a business that combined a vacation with health in a resort atmosphere.”

The concept really came to fruition because of an American friend of hers. He had done a weeklong fast in the Philippines and returned looking great. Lin Ping was astounded: “I found his body and skin had changed so much, but when he told me he’d fasted for seven days, without any food, I immediately rejected the idea. How is it possible for me not to eat anything for seven days? I can’t even do it for one day.” It was only after her friend went for a second time that she was convinced to give it a go herself. “He told me I should try it, and if I couldn’t take it, I could always quit,” she said. She needed a vacation anyway, so she was off to the Philippines, on a journey that would completely change her life: “I came back reborn. I’d never felt so great. My body was so light, my skin shone,” and her head was clear enough to pull together her vague business model. She said to herself, “Yes, I will build a resort where people can clean their body and soul, where they can relax, detox, and change their unhealthy state.” She wanted someplace close to home so that people didn’t have to fly all the way to Southeast Asia.

It wasn’t just all business for Lin Ping though. From her fasting trips to the Philippines, she realized that a healthy lifestyle included diet, a pleasant mood and exercise. So, along with building a resort, she began to build a new body. She started with meditation, taichi, yoga, some weightlifting and running. Her 2013 WeChat posts were full of her training and running photos. I asked her why she turned to running. She responded, “In the beginning, I chose running because I thought it was the easiest sport. All you need is a pair of shoes, and you can run anywhere. Hangzhou is such a beautiful city; scenic spots are everywhere. So, I started running.” She went on to say that initially she just wanted to lose weight, but then, she told me, “I began to discover the beauty of running. I soon fell in love with it. Of course when I first started, I also felt a little bored, but I just set new goals for myself that I wanted to achieve. From 1km to 3km, 5km, 10km… I was able to run farther and farther.” She continued, “After a while, I really started to enjoy running, the pleasure and the happiness it brought to me. You know after twenty minutes, your body starts to secrete endorphins. They bring you so much joy; it’s a bit like an orgasm. If you aren’t a runner, I’m afraid you’ll never experience this pleasure.”

In November 2013, she entered the Hangzhou International Marathon – the first marathon of her life. She signed up for the mini marathon (12.8km) and had a time of 87’19”. When I asked her what made her decided to participate in the marathon, she replied, “Think about it. You don’t have many opportunities to run in the middle of the road. How cool is that! After the mini marathon, I trained frequently, I wanted to do a full one, so I started with a half marathon, then 30km.”

In May 2014, she did the Gobi Desert Challenge sponsored by Shanghai Jiaotong University EMBA. Runners had to complete 112km in four days in the desert. It was really a very tough battle; it wasn’t only physical but also a test of perseverance. During the race, she had to endure a sandstorm, dehydration and exhaustion, but she completed it. After this unique and unforgettable experience, she started training for her new challenge: a full marathon. So far, she has finished four marathons: Beijing, Taipei, Hangzhou, and Kaikou was her fourth one in 2015. Her experience in Beijing was almost as taxing as the Gobi, as she explained, “Beijing was my first full marathon. I remember the pollution was terrible then, but I had already been there preparing for several days. What to do? I was conflicted, but in the end I said to myself, screw it, let’s do it.”

Most people are surprised when Lin Ping tells them about her marathons. They admire her and wonder if her goal is to win. “It’s impossible for me to win,” she laughed, “I mean, after 30km you have to just fight against your body. It’s really arduous, but I enjoy the process so much.” Lin Ping looks at her marathons as a competition against herself. As an amateur, she has started relatively late, and as an older runner, she just wants to beat her last record. Her aim in 2015 is at least five full marathons. She has already signed up for Berlin, Los Angeles, Athens, and she wants to do Shanghai and Xiamen as well.

On top of her marathons, Lin Ping also does many other running events in China. She founded her own running company called Running God, which organizes all kinds of running events. There are already more than four hundred members. Even as busy as she is operating her restaurant and resort, she still finds time to participate in all the running events organized by Running God and is always trying to recruit new members. She even invited me. She pitched: “In March, there will be a 57km cross-country race in Jinhua. I’ll be there. You’re all welcome to join!”

If you saw Lin Ping, you would never believe that there is so much power hiding inside her little body and that those feet have run so many kilometers. “I haven’t been sick for ages, and I lost ten kilograms within one year. I look way much younger than I’ve ever looked,” she proudly told to me. And it’s so true. In just three short years, she has completely transformed from a pudgy, meat-loving, middle-aged woman into a detoxing, marathon running, veggie eating young woman! She proves that it’s never too late: All we need to do is set our goal and go for it!!!

Latest 5 Stories

The Expat Show is Coming Back Very Soon!

For the 12th consecutive year, the Expat Show Shanghai is back for the delight of families. 
Expatriates or locals, the Expat Show Shanghai will meet all your daily needs.

Shanghai is a cosmopolitan city, the whole world is represented here. However, creating your network, meeting new people, or simply keeping up to date with new businesses (services and products) can sometimes be complicated by the vastness of this city.

That's why the three days Expat Show brings together in one place everything you need. Thus, foodies will find their happiness within the "Food & Beverage Area" created in partnership with Sherpa's ; various tastings organised will fulfil wine, beer, and cocktail lovers dreams; families will not be left behind with stands dedicated to tourism, education, health but also to investment and finance.

Activities for young and adult visitors will be organized inside a dedicated space, and a relaxation area awaits all visitors for moments of exchange over a drink or a coffee. 

The members of the associations (non-profit, charities, Chambers of Commerce...) will also be there to present their activities and why not, soon, count you among their members.


This year, a big new feature!

The Expat Show is pleased to invite you to its "Get Together Cocktail".

In the Shanghai Exhibition Center, you are expected on Saturday, September 21st, from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on the Relaxing Area.

Wine, spirits and cocktails tasting with appetizers provided by our sponsors, will be an opportunity to share a pleasant moment.

Participation is free of charge and our generous sponsors have prepared many gifts for you. Come and try your luck! Games, trips, gifts are to be won!


On this Harvest Moon: The Mid-Autumn Festival

This year the Mid-Autumn Festival, or Moon Festival, falls on September 13th. This is the 2nd most important festival in China, after the Chinese New Year/Spring Festival blow out extravaganza. The Mid-Autumn Festival is a harvest festival that coincides with the autumnal equinox and marks the end of the summer harvest season, and its date varies from year to year because the Chinese can’t seem to let go of the Lunar Calendar. Of course, they’ve seen silverware too, but Jerry Seinfeld already did that bit.

Like everything else here, the history of the Mid-Autumn Festival dates all the way back, 3,000 years, to the Shang Dynasty, when the powerful sorcerer Lo Pan broke the curse of immortality by marrying a girl with green eyes…no, wait, that was the plot to Big Trouble in Little China. Here’s the real one, according to legend (or, Wikipedia, if you want to be a jerk about it):

“Chang'e and her husband Houyi were immortals living in heaven. One day, the ten sons of the Jade Emperor transformed into ten suns and scorched the Earth. Having failed to order his sons to stop ruining the Earth, the Jade Emperor summoned Houyi for help. Houyi, using his legendary archery skills, shot down nine of the sons, but spared one son (who conveniently became the Sun). The Jade Emperor was obviously not pleased with Houyi's solution to save the Earth as it involved Houyi murdering nine of his sons. As punishment, the Jade Emperor banished Houyi and Chang'e to live as mere mortals on Earth.

Seeing how miserable Chang'e felt over her loss of immortality, Houyi decided to go on a long, perilous quest to find the pill of immortality so that the couple could become immortal again. At the end of his quest he met the Queen Mother of the West who agreed to give him the pill, but warned him that each person needs only half the pill to become immortal.

Houyi brought the pill home and stored it in a case. He warned Chang'e not to open the case and then left home for a while. Like every other woman in the history of the world, she didn’t listen. She opened up the case and found the pill just as Houyi was returning home. Nervous Houyi would catch her fiddling with the pill, she swallows the whole thing like a stooge and starts to float into the sky because of the overdose. Although Houyi could have used his wicked archery skills to shoot her and tether her down, he couldn’t bear to do it and Chang'e kept on floating until she landed on the moon.

Although Chang’e missed her husband dearly, she wasn’t alone. She did have company of a jade rabbit that manufactured elixirs, and that of the lumberjack Wu Gang. The lumberjack offended the gods in his attempt to achieve immortality and was therefore banished to the moon. Wu Gang was allowed to leave the moon if he could cut down a tree that grew there. The problem was that each time he chopped it down; it would instantly grow back, effectively condemning him to live on the moon for eternity. Gods are tricky that way.”

So to commemorate this story, as well as the end of the harvest season, people throughout China gather their families together to catch up while eating moon cakes (discussed in more detail later) and pomelo. They also light lanterns to adorn their homes, temples, and even the sky. This last kind of lantern, called a, “sky lantern,” is really quite cool. They’re basically an ornate box kite that’s lit with a candle, but when they’re launched, after night fall, they make for a beautiful, candlelit sky. Add to this luminescence that of the full round moon and you’ve got yourself the makings of one festive evening. It’s also the perfect occasion to pull out your old Neil Young albums (namely Harvest and Harvest Moon) and rock out.

Alternate Uses for Moon Cakes:

Let’s face it; the moon cake is the fruitcake of China. No one actually wants them (other than for re-gifting purposes). They’re just the gift you give people to let them know how little you care for them. For the person on the receiving end, it’s really a slap in the face. The giver of said crap cakes gets to slide by on the kindness of the gesture, while you’ve got to work up a smile, and pretend to appreciate what is in essence, an empty, backhanded act of passive aggression. Giving someone moon cakes is the same as saying, “I’ve nothing but contempt for you, but I do plan on knocking you up for a favor in the next couple weeks, so try not to choke.” But all’s not lost because moon cakes can serve many other functions besides pissing all over the definition of cake. So as those decorative boxes of banality from all your condescending know-nothing colleagues at work pile up in your home, don’t think about how drunk you’re going to have to get to choke them all down. Get creative. Think like Martha Stewart, or just keep reading and use some of the ideas we’ve come up with. It’s a good thing.

Stabilize that wobbly chair or coffee table

One of the nice things about a cake that’s got the density of a brake pad is that it can endure a sizeable amount of force without breaking apart. That makes it one of the best materials to use to support that bothersome short leg on your table, chair, or bar stool. It also won’t scuff up your hardwood floors.

Serves as a fantastic replacement puck for ice or street hockey

Thanks to the moon cakes stout, cylindrical design, (It’s called, yeast, you a-holes! It’s what makes baked goods fluffy and delicious. Stop living in the past.), it has, not only the same shape as a standard ice hockey puck, but also, almost, the exact same dimensions. So here’s what you do. Take a box of these abominations and throw them in the freezer for a couple hours while you gather the gang for a good old fashion game of street hockey, or take them down to the skating rink at the MixC Mall and have at it.

Give to the needy

This is just to prove our point that these shit snacks are universally reviled. Go up to a homeless person asking for money and give them a box of these bastards instead, and see if you don’t get pegged in the back of the head with one as gratitude for your selfless gesture.

Protect yourself from stray dogs

It’s late and you’re stumbling out of the bar after a few too many with your buddies. Your senses are impaired, as is your sense of direction. You find yourself alone, walking down a dark street when you spot a mongrel dog that has shown an interest in you. You’re too drunk to outrun it, and it’s the only thing between you and your warm bed. What do you do? You pull out the moon cakes that some jackanapes forced on you and you force them right into the dog’s mouth. Like peanut butter on their nose, this should keep it occupied for at least 10 minutes, giving you plenty of time to make a staggering escape.

Whip at motorists who don't obey the traffic laws

How many times have you been on your bike, or in a taxi, and you’ve almost been killed by some motorist who thinks the rules don’t apply to them? If you’ve been here a week it’s happened at least once. Don’t lie to us. Of course, you want to throw something at them, but all you have handy is your cell phone and/or wallet and, obviously, you can’t throw those. Moon cakes combine the heft of a billiard ball with the softness of a dessert you’d still pass on in a hostage situation. You make your point, no damage to the target’s car, but the message was received. Everyone wins.

Earmuffs in the winter

Get creative this winter and be the first one on your block to chase away the chills with some homemade, moon cake earmuffs. All you need is a needle, some decorative, elastic yarn, 2 moon cakes (one for each ear) and a microwave. Cut 5 lengths of yarn at a measure of one and half times the circumference of your head. Work the yarn through the moon cakes laterally (through the sides). Adjust the position of the cakes so that each one rests comfortably over each ear, with your lengths of yarn going around your head like a sweat band. When you’ve got them positioned how you like them, tie the ends of your yarn together to ensure a snug fit around your cabeza. When you’re ready to hit the town, throw your stylish new earmuffs in the microwave for 30 seconds and prepare to laugh derisively at Old Man Winter.

Haze the new guy

Like snake wine and unicycles, moon cakes serve no purpose. They do, however, work well for gags, especially when the new guy in your office starts getting a little too big for his britches. Knock him down a peg, and remind him of his place by challenging his manhood with a moon cake eating contest. Basically, you just tell him that it’s a rite of passage we’ve all gone through and if he can’t eat 10 moon cakes in 10 minutes, no one will respect him. Whether or not he finishes them is beside the point. The point is, no one else is going to eat these things and they’re starting to take up space.

And there you have it. Seven great ways to get rid of your moon cakes, when re-gifting is simply not an option, but by no means, are these the only ways. Get creative and think up some yourself. You like building models? Build yourself a 1/10 scale trebuchet and see how far you can wing them. Or give them to kids. They’ll put anything in their mouths. Happy Mid-Autumn Festival, everybody!

2019 Qiantang River Tidal Bore and Surfing Competition

Qiantang River tidal bore is one the largest tidal bores in the world which reaches the most spectacular on the eighteenth day of the eight month on Chinese lunar calendar. To watch the 9-meter tidal waves, you can choose the best locations in Haining city, about 50 kilometers from Hangzhou.

2019 Qiantang River International Surfing Competition will be held from Sept.11th to 16th, during which the Qiantang River tides are surging frighteningly high in the year.

Opening ceremony (about 40 minutes)

Time: 3:30pm - 4:10pm, September 12th
Location: Qiantang Farm 钱唐农园 (江干区5号港路)

Qiantang River International Surfing Competition (4 days)

Time: September 13th - 16th (13th-15th: preliminaries, 16th: finals and closing ceremony).
Venue: Qianjiang No.9 Bridge to No.1 Bridge (Qiantang River Bridge) 钱江九桥至钱江一桥(钱塘江大桥)

Closing Ceremony Location: Qiantang Farm 钱唐农园 (江干区5号港路)

Teams: 9 teams (China, Australia, Spain, South Africa, Brazil, California, France, Indonesia and Puerto Rico)
Prize: 200,000RMB

Surfing Carnival (5 days)

Time: 10:30am - 4:30pm, September 12th - 16th
Location: Qiantang Farm 钱唐农园 (江干区5号港路)

What to expect: There will be four surf theme carnival activities: water rafting, surfing pool, surfing culture exhibition, surfing board teaching, as well as magical spider wall, frisbee, bowling and many other activities.

Qiantang Music Festival (1 day)

Time: 6:30pm - 8:30pm, Saturday, September 14th
Location: Garden Lawn at Qiantang Farm 钱唐农园大草坪 (江干区5号港路)

The referee of Qiantang River International Surfing Competition, Peter Towndend is the first World Surfing Champion and the former coach of China National Surfing Team.

Nine teams from home and abroad will surf on the so-called “Silver Tides” from Sept. 13th to 16th. World top surfers, Dean Morrison, Eneko Acero, Kyle McGeary and Made Garut Widiarta will participate in the event.

Dean Morrison, who is the champion of Australia and European Division of World Men's Shortboard Surfing Championship Tour. He is one of the most celebrated Australian surfers of the modern era, finishing a career best ninth in 2007. In the water Dean is a pocket dynamo, known for his compact, fluid style and sublime cutback. On land his humility and good nature ensure he is the kind of pro surfer who is approachable for people from all walks of life.

Eneko Acero, one of the most important and influential surfers of Spain and Europe. At that time it was just him on a worldwide tour with surfers from all over the place but his hometown/country. Still today, Eneko is surfing in a daily basis, manages a team of an international brand and of course proudly holds the surname Acero, a surfing family you might heard of from him, his older brother Iker Acero or the charismatic Kepa Acero.

Kyle McGeary, Team (NSSA) champion surfer, he is an underground local surfer from Huntington Beach, California. "Never heard of Kyle? Then you probably don't surf the pier, because if you did, you'd see him hucking big rotators everyday."

Made Garut Widiarta, born and raised in Kuta he started surfing at the age of 9 at his home break Half Ways, Garut is one of the most recognizable Indonesian surfers in the world and he has received more high profile attention in the media than any Indonesian surfer since Rizal Tanjung. Is name is I Made Widiarta a.k.a Garut.

The top local surfers will also participate on behalf of Chinese National Surfing Team. Surfing in the Qiantang River has only been allowed since 2008. During the competition, surfers will follow the tidal bore in motorboats and jet skis, and then take turns riding the waves.

Surfing will be included in the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. The inclusion has given a boost to the sport in China, where it remains relatively new.

Hangzhou government hopes the competition can further promote the sport among citizens, especially the youth.

The competition will be broadcast nationwide by China Central Television.

HIS Welcome Back BBQ Party, A Great Event For The HIS Community!

On Saturday, September 7th, 2019, Hangzhou International School held their Annual Welcome Back Barbecue and once again gathered the HIS community, parents, students and teachers, they had an opportunity to welcome the new families and to catch up with the old friends while enjoying themselves, the tasty food, and the activities provided.

MORE’s editor Loren was fortunately enough to be invited, while it was initially a little foreign to him—not having kids going to the school, not being a Binjiang-er—his years of being in Hangzhou felt like they finally paid off, and he bumped into a good cross-section of international folk he has known for a while now.

The food was predictably excellent, with burgers from returning favorite Slim’s one of the queues we had to try, but also present was the Indian faire from Pita’s and Tika’s and pizza from Angelo’s.

The kids had a great time too, with musical and dance performances, face painting and candy.

We had a great time talking to some new and returning teachers, eager to get the new school year fully underway, and had a great time talking about the crafts of teaching and parenting, as well as the sense of community that HIS brings to its families and faculty who come together from more than 50 nations to make events like this fun and engaging. We are looking forward to continue having a great school year!

Hello, Hangzhou! Epermarket is Now Delivering 7x a Week!

Looking for fresh and imported products from a source you can trust? Why not take advantage of Epermarket’s new and improved delivery service (now upgraded from 3 days to 7 days a week)? When ordering online, you can pick all the high-quality items you love and have them delivered to your door at on a day that suits you!

If you’re not available at a specific time of the day when your order arrives, you can always select, “Leave my Order at the Door” option, so you can feel safe in the knowledge that your fresh and frozen items will be carefully stored for you in cooler and carton boxes upon your arrival.

Ordering online at Epermarket couldn’t be easier—they have a wide range of hard-to-find products to choose from. Did we mention they have over 5000 imported products as well? And all their fresh groceries are packed on the day they are delivered, so you can be assured of the best quality hand-picked items.

What else is new at Epermarket?

Their Wine Fair promotion! This exclusive wine sale is coming up and will include classic beverages from some of the finest wine regions in the world. From Chablis to Prosecco and Rosé, you can find over 100 wines to dive into and enjoy in the comfort of your home. These wines will be on sale from up to 40% off, starting from September 10th, so keep your eyes peeled for more at

New to Epermarket? Simply scan the QR code to register and get 50RMB off your first order! 

Offer is valid until Friday, the 13th September.

Find out more about other promotions when you visit their website!

The idea behind Epermarket has always been simple: a place for internationals to buy the food they love, from a source they can trust. They place quality and safety first, with all products curated by professionals, all passionate about food and living a healthy life. Whether you are looking for fresh fruit and organic vegetables, pantry favorites or even home care products, Epermarket has everything you need.

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